COPS: MYSPACE AT CENTER OF CRIMES
The Web site MySpace.com was at the center of arrests in Connecticut and Arizona this week, one involving the alleged sexual assault of a minor and the other a contract killing. Bienvenido Garcia, a 19 year old Bridgeport, Connecticut man, has been arrested on a sexual assault charge, accused of raping a 12 year old girl he met on Myspace.com. He was arrested Wednesday by members of the US Marshals Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force. The girl said on a number of occasions Garcia had come into her room, pinned her on her bed and raped her. He was charged with first degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor and was being held in lieu of $75,000 bond.
WEB OF DECEPTION?
MySpace.com is a popular social networking Web site that allows users to create anonymous personal pages. The pages can include music and photos, sometimes suggestive. People as young as 14 are allowed to create pages, and MySpace does not verify age. Critics say MySpace exposes young people to online sexual predators, but the company maintains that the site is safe for users of all ages.
WATCH YOUR BACK
- Avoid putting personal details in your profile that could allow a stranger to know who you are, such as date of birth.
- Don't add photos that strangers could use to identify you or that could embarrass you if they should be spread on the Internet.
- Avoid face-to-face meetings with people you meet on MySpace, unless you verify their identity.
- Don't lie about your age. Parents of children under 14 who register in defiance of MySpace policy can ask that the profile be deleted.
- Use password protection for your profile. If you are under 18, consider restricting access to people you know.